Daria/Phantom 2040
by Mitch

DARIA and all related characters are trademarked and copyrighted by MTV Networks.
Daria created by Glen Eicher. Used without permission.

PHANTOM 2040 and all related characters are tradmarked and copyrighted by King
Features Syndicate. Phantom created by Lee Falk. Used without permission.

DISCLAMER: In 1566, a group of pirates called the Sing Brotherhood attacked a trading
vessel from Spain. A young man saw his father killed by the leader of the pirates. Falling
overboard into the bay of the African island of Bengalla, the young Spainard was rescued
by the Poison People of the Bandar. He was taught their ways of survival and was given
and a ring from the Tuganda tribe with the mystic Fourth Skull of Tuganda on it. On the skull
of the Sing brotherhood's leader, (I think a shipwreak killed him) the Spainerd swore this
oath: "I will devote my life to the destruction of piracy, greed, injustice, and my sons will
follow me." He became the Gaurdian of the Eastern Dark...the PHANTOM. For the next
500 years, a Phantom would fight evil, fall in battle, and have his rings (there is also a
friendship-representing Good Ring as well as the Skull Ring) and his oath taken up by his
son. For 23 generations there were stories about this Man Who Cannot Die, this Ghost
Who Walks. In 2024, the Phantom disappeared after moving to the city-state of Metropia.
People forgot him and the world became corrupt. In 2040, the 24th Phantom finally
appeared, just when he was needed the most...


Charles Ruttheimer the third had been waiting for his parents to arrive. They had been
spending a second honeymoon in a cruseship sailing past Africa. They were supposed to
arrive back in Lawndale a couple of days ago. Forgeting about it, Charles decided to
check his answering maching. Suprisingly, there were seven messages.

"Rowrr! Let's see what fiesty babes want to make Chuck Ruttheimer a part of their lives!" he said to himself.

The messages were as follows:

STACY: Don't call me, Upchuck!

TIFFANY: Don't call me, Upchuck!

SANDI: Like, don't call me, okay?

QUINN: Upchuck, like, don't call me anymore, okay?

TRENT: Don't bother Janey.

JESSE MORENO: Don't bother Jane.

DARIA: Your getting desperate, aren't you Upchuck.

Chuck sighed. Suddenly, his parents walked in looking weathered, yet relieved.

"What happened?" asked the young Ruttheimer.

"Well, our ship got wreaked," started his father, "and we were forced to abandon ship..."

"And we were rescued!" interupted his mother, sounding almost dreamlike.

"Wow!" said young Chuck, "by what?"

"It wasn't a what. It was a who..."

"I think it was a what, dear." interupted Mrs. Ruttheimer. "Oh, go on, dear. You're too
old to believe in ghosts..."

"Ghosts?" Chuck wondered aloud.

Mr. Ruttheimer sighed and explained, "We were led to shore by a man on horseback, wearing an eyemask and a purple costume. He led us through the jungle to a village where we were helped a tribe the purple man called the 'Poison People'. A native named Guran said he was pleased to
meet 'friends of Libanza'. The following morning, we were taken by the purple man to a
skull-shaped cave and met his family..."

Too bad he was taken, thought Chuck's mother before she thought, too bad -I- am.

"They called a sea plane to pick us up," continued Chuck's dad, "It dropped us off at New York were we got a flight home."

"Sounds like you admired this purple guy," said Chuck with a hint of jealousy in his voice, "What was his name?"

"When we asked," said his dad, "all he said was that all the tribes knew him as 'the Phantom, the man who can never die'."

Phantom, thought Upchuck, sounds like a new guy for me to admire...

NEXT: We switch from the present to the year 2014, when Daria and Trent learn of the
Phantom and a new member of the Daria cast makes their first appearence (even though
they were hinted at in "The Discovery"...)

Prologue II

Daria was sitting on the couch in the TV room, flipping through channels to find something
she knew was going to happen today. For once, it wasn't anything tabloid related. This was
something newsworthy and possibly historical. A moment later, she found it.

"Trent!" she shouted, "It's starting!"

"Oh, okay Daria," said Trent from the next room. "Just let me get Lucille."

Daria half smiled as she wondered what Lucille was getting into this time. A moment later, Trent came in with their black haired three-year old daughter. As the two of them sat down, Daria noticed that Lucille had that usual look of wonder on her face that was turning into a look of confusion. Daria decided to get the curiousity spark back in her.

"Want to see history happen Lucille?" she asked.

"History!" cheered an enthusiastic Lucille.

"Live from the island nation of Bengalla," said the TV anouncer, "comes the signing of the
African Unification Treaty of 2014."

The camera showed the Copper City of Baladu Nuhasi in the land of the Ituri. In the background, were the sacred Ituri Forest and the Mountains of the Moon also called the Ruwenzori Mountains. There were representatives of the governments of all of Africa arriving. An hour or so later, the Morgandoffer-Lane family saw the representatives of Bangala as the last ones to sign the form to bring all of Africa together. First were the Commons, people from the Lower House. Then, there were the Chiefs of the Upper House.

From their view at home, the Morgandoffer-Lane family saw this and figured that, despite
how boring it all seemed, it looked cool, what with the senery and the outfits the Chiefs got
to wear. The Kikongo Chiefs signed it, the Lingola, the Tahiliubu, and the Kataba.
However, it wasn't the Chiefs of the Ituri who signed for them. Just as it was the Ituri's turn, a
black man in a red "gown" appeared.

"I am Guran of the Bandar tribe," he said, "The completion of the signing will be done by Libanza, the voice of the Ituri Chiefs."

At their home in the city of Woodland, the eyes of the Morgandoffer-Lanes opened wide as
they saw a purple suited man with an eyemask and a belt with a skull on it abd state of the
art stun guns on its sides walk up to the podium. The camera zoomed in on this final
signature, a signature that read "the PHANTOM".

At Woodland, "Who was that guy?" asked Trent.

"I think I know who he's -supposed- to be, but I thought he was some sort of legend." said Daria.

"Who was funny dressed man, Dar-ee-ah?" Lucille asked her mother.

Daria liked how she and Trent taught their kid to talk to them on a first name basis.

"Well," she said, "I don't really believe, but they saw that in the jungle, there's a ghost who looks like that called the Phantom."

"So, this guy was dressed like that to honor him?" asked Trent.

"I don't know," said Daria, "from the way everyone looked at him, it almost seemed that the people figured that -was- him."

"No such things as ghosts!" Lucille enthusiastically reminded her mother.

Daria smiled before she got up and said "I know Lucille, but let's let the people on TV think otherwise. Now, time for bed."

As Daria lay Lucille in her crib, the three-year-old opened an eye and asked "Dar-ee-ah,
what will I be when I get big? Will I be -you-?"

Daria smiled and said "Only if you want to be, Lucille. I don't want to force you to be anything in particullar. Your free to choose what you want to be like and what you want to do with your life."

Knowing Lucille, that could take awhile since the kid was always into exploring things. Such curiousity...

"All I know is," finished Daria as she left the room and turned off the lights, "is that you'll
make us proud."